April 15, 2012
April 16: The Raid of the Grackles by John D. Groppe

The Raid of the Grackles

In the morning the grackles come as shadows
skimming the grass like manta rays
along the ocean floor, then, rising
into the cherry tree, dimming its brightness,
perch above the feeder, stretch their bodies,
curving them into a “u.”
One leaps to the feeder, making it spin,
riding it, feeding as he turns, his talons choking its rim.
Along the ground, the gang stabs the thick grass
for seeds scattered by their leader,
and preen in the early sunlight,
flashing iridescent greens and blues.
At a silent signal they go without stealth.
Then sparrows come, finches, a cardinal,
all sharing the wobbling feeder.
The cherry blossoms regain their soft brilliance.

—John D. Groppe (Jasper County)

 This poem was first published in From the Edge of the Prairie (2005).  John D. Groppe is Professor Emeritus of English at Saint Joseph’s College, Rensselaer.  A native of New York City and a Hoosier since 1958, he holds a BS in Education from the College of the City of New York and a MA in American Literature from Columbia University. His poetry has appeared in Snowy Egret, Embers, The National Catholic Reporter, Tipton Poetry Journal, and From the Edge of the Prairie, among other publications. He is coeditor of From the Edge of the Prairie, an annual anthology of poetry and prose focusing on a sense of place.

Posted In: Miscellaneous

5 responses to “April 16: The Raid of the Grackles by John D. Groppe”

  1. Judy Stanton says:

    Love it. Describes the action I see almost every day from my window. Next poem: red-winged blackbirds?

  2. Mary K. Lund says:

    What a keen observer of nature is John Groppe! I especially like the description of the cherry blossoms being dimmed by the flock. Ah, Spring! Here so shortly, being teased back into frost here in the Upper Midwest!

  3. joe mulligan says:

    I really like your poem. I can imagine those dark shapes swooping in. Predators. Robber-bandits. Taking over. Taking whatever they want. Their grating voices. And the slow, soft return of light and peace to the blossoming tree after their departure. You make that moment live. And I feel the metaphorical presence of all those dark forces, dark people (Bashar al-Assad) who spread suffering wherever they go – and the slow, painful return of light and peace after their departure

  4. Karen Kovacik says:

    Judy, Check out Joe Heithaus’s red wing blackbird poem on April 15.

  5. Nicely observed by New York eyes residing many years now in a Rensselaer neighborhood. Well come!

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